beach rambles inside & out…

I often have a flood of ideas while walking the beach about what I want to create, write, transform, design and so on. Then I get home and the idea’s intensity subsides. I used to feel quite defeated by this. I don’t anymore.

I can’t possibly create all that I imagine…and there’s some sadness that sometimes accompanies that understanding. However, in this middle school stage of life (I’ll be 55 in October) I finally appreciate (accept maybe) the inevitable ebbing and flowing of my inner creative life, and stop fighting the tide so much.

Here are a few ideas that actually did come to life this week:

I think I’ll give myself a high-five for what I did accomplish. Beating myself up over what I didn’t do this week seems pretty absurd.


Making something new out of the discarded or neglected is what gives me the most creative energy.  Gutting and remodeling this outdated studio apartment in 2011 was one of my favorite projects of my lifetime.  I learned a lot.  I really like being dirty and tired from physical work.  I slept remarkably well.  I knew my mission.  There were deadlines.

The downside of all-consuming projects for me is that they become an escape and I neglect other responsibilities in my life.  I’m learning something about that now too.  When is a project a craving?  What am I escaping when I’m willing to get so singularly focused?  Who in my life is this affecting?  How?

I’m not entirely sure what’s next.  I’m learning to be OK with the unknown.


the power of 5%.

I was reminded this morning of how I can be an ALL or NOTHING sort of person in my proclamations.  I LOVE CHANGE.  I love change so much more than the rest of my family and it drives them totally bonkers.  EXAMPLE:  If I could flip the rooms where the kitchen and the living room are I would do that.  I have to satisfy that part of my nature somehow and it’s abundantly clear that I must largely do it on my own. No public proclamations…or at least a helluva lot fewer of them.

I can be a little unrealistic: I WILL NO LONGER eat potato chips, drink beer, read news, use FACEBOOK, watch TV, eat meat or sugar, drive when I can walk, be critical of my kids or my husband, spend money on X…blah, blah, blah.

Thankfully, over the course of the positive psychology program I took through the Wholebeing Institute. I was taught something quite valuable and rather easy to incorporate into my daily life.  The simple trick of five percent.

I can improve 5% of damn near anything in my life…

then I can build on that incremental change.

I will try to exercise 5% more.  I will try to spend 5% less. I will try to eat 5% less sugar.  I will try to watch 5% less TV.  I will try to eat 5% fewer potato chips.  I will try to drink 5% less.  (NOTE:  I’ve discovered a great trick.  My beers are now 1/2 club soda and 1/2 beer.  Bartenders aren’t crazy about this order.  Who cares? It’s half the calories, half the alcohol and it’s much better for staying hydrated.)

SO, the next time you notice something you would like to improve in your life— think about a relatively painless 5% shift and just do it.

This might be all you need to get started on a desired new path.

Good luck!  Let me know what works for you.

This week in my studio…

I furiously got rid of stuff that was keeping my mind a complete mess.  I couldn’t even prioritize what I needed to work on first.  I spend one hour cleaning out and booked an appointment with GOT JUNK.  The minute they drove off I could breathe again.  The guys were great and both artists in their own right too.  Apparently GOT JUNK sites have a lot of materials, metal, wood and other things to scavenged.  I gave lots of things away and unearthed a few items I unfortunately would’ve purchased again because I didn’t know where they were.  The clean out felt awesome.  These are not very good before and after photos, but I think you’ll get the idea.

IMG_9405          IMG_9410

Yesterday, I got to the studio ready to work on my designs for STRUT and all 4 of my sewing machines didn’t work—broken belts, jammed up and one vintage and one, a 1950s SINGER I acquired I couldn’t figure out how to get the bobbin to thread even after I read and reread the manual.  Reading manuals is not one of my strengths. It’s like reading Japanese or Greek or writing code to me.  I called my sister to tell her that I actually had to laugh at the absurdity of having all machines fail on me when I was busy sewing. I was grateful that I could find the humor in the problem.  What else could I do, really?  What was the universe trying to tell me.  I then headed out to one of the most loved repair shops in northern Vermont…Smitty’s in Essex Junction, Vermont

I was so grateful for the service.  SMITTY and his wife are truly Vermont Treasures.


In an hour and half I had two of the machines in beautiful working order. I’m sewing leather and my sewing machines are taking a beating.  If anyone ever wonders what to get me for a gift, it’s leather needles.  As a bonus, I got to have tacos with my daughter, Willa while I waited.  There’s always a bonus, if we’re paying attention to everyday hardships if we dig deep.

 By 2pm I finally was able to get to work and nearly finish one of my pieces for the show.  I love to work with the tension of tough and soft materials.  I think the leather with the softness of the ecodyed silk from Elizabeth Bunsen is an interesting contrast…just like life.


Sometimes things are hard and sometimes things are delicate and sometimes we just have to laugh at it all. 

growth mindset vs. fixed mindset

brain changes carol dweck lisa lillibridge

When I read through these traits I was struck by a few things.

1. I’m so grateful to know that a fixed mindset doesn’t have to remain FIXED.  Think about it?  FIXED means unchangeable.  WHO POSSIBLY WANTS TO HAVE A BRAIN THAT IS UNCHANGEABLE?

2. I get really tired of people throwing up their hands and saying, “that’s just the way I am, the way I learn, talk and so on…so get used to it”.  No. I won’t, because it’s untrue.  However, this statement is—we have to believe that change is possible or real growth is way less likely to occur.

Neuroplasticity allows our brains to create new pathways by doing things differently.  It isn’t simple, I understand. However, the good news is that meaningful change in our lives is BOTH very difficult AND very possible.  One of the growth mindset traits: sees effort as necessary.

“Neuroplasticity refers to the potential that the brain has to reorganize by creating new neural pathways to adapt, as it needs.”    —


“The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile”

― Tal Ben-Shahar

(Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment)

It’s so necessary to feed our brains novel experiences, thoughts and ideas for growth and it sure makes life a helluva lot more interesting.  Don’t you think?

Try something new today.  Your brain will thank you.

The beauty & dangers of Photoshop


Bird Print with Lillibridge painting

Here’s the manipulations of one of my paintings. It doesn’t even look like the same art form and yet I was quite happy with the results. I thought it was cool, but it is entirely different and no one would look at the grey and pastel print and quickly identify it as Lisa Lillibridge’s work. In art this alteration (especially when done by the original artist) seems OK to me. However, the bombardment of images my 14 year old daughters are subjected to that have been seriously altered is NOT.

Ralph Lauren

Here’s a great article about photoshopping images in fashion. And I’m happy to let you know that I stumbled upon a remarkable online fashion magazine that doesn’t photoshop their models at all-VERILY magazine. Quote below and a link to the magazine. BRAVO Verily, you’ve been bookmarked. Great content. NOTE: I am not paid for this endorsement.
“Whereas other magazines photoshop to achieve the “ideal” body type or leave a maximum of three wrinkles, we never alter the body or face structure of our models with Photoshop. We firmly believe that the unique features of women — be it crows feet, freckles, or a less-than-rock-hard body — contribute to their beauty and therefore don’t need to be removed or changed.”


Rainy Saturday Lillibridge Blog

change print lillibridge

In my pursuit of spring changes (this girl need a lot of change) I started thinking today about the one thing I could shift to create a meaningful difference in my life. I want to look at the habits or long-held beliefs that I could shift just ever so slightly. As a culture I think we go to extremes…politics, diet, exercise, vices etc. What if, just what if one slight change in your life could net a really significant improvement to the quality of your daily experience? What could it be? What are the possibilities? I would love to hear your ideas.

These boots were made for…

Lillibridge hand painted boots 1-13

Lillibridge boots lying on side final

“Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world, and I’ll stand on Bob Dylan’s coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that.” —Steve Earle

Thrift shop transformation on a rainy day.




I am not a very good seamstress, but I have a lot of ideas. Today at ST. Teresa’s shop in Sagamore, Mass I found this linen jacket. Good lines. Too big. Not very interesting. I thought for $3 it had some potential. I like things deconstructed. And I like Japanese inspired, deconstructed design. I decided to do some pleating and make the jacket fit me better. I want to wrinkle it up a lot more, it washed up way less wrinkled than I intended. What I am most pleased with is the transformation. If something isn’t working. Think about it. Take necessary steps. Change it. This applies to lots of aspects of our lives not just $3 thrift shop jackets. Go forth and transform!